APPIANO GENTILE – If the world were to end tomorrow, Esteban Cambiasso would be the most successful Argentine player of all time. "It's not exactly an achievement that would make up for the fact that I'd be dead, but it's a nice record nonetheless. I'm sure Lionel [Messi] will beat them all but being overtaken by someone like him would only be another reason to be proud."
Cuchu grinned as he spoke about 21 December 2012 on Inter Channel's Prima Serata programme, on air at the moment on Sky Italia channel 232.
The conversation turned to the more distant future, when Cambiasso might start a coaching career: "I don't know about that, I'm not even sure what skills you need because when you think about the job you think of someone with tactical nous, but actually the coach is someone who needs to manage a group of 25 individuals and I don't take that aspect lightly. When you're a coach you have to deal with different personalities every day."
The midfielder answered a question about his own fitness following the Lazio game: "I'm edging my way back, working with the medical staff to get back in shape."
On his fellow countryman Ricky Alvarez: "I'm sure he's got what it takes to become a great player but I think he and some of the other lads joined Inter in a season – last season – that was tough for everyone. It was tough for those of us who had been here for years so we weren't even able to help them out at a difficult time. Unfortunately we couldn't make it easy for them to settle in. Then Ricky started this year with a knee operation. But I'm not worried if he messes up a pass or a dribble; I'd be surprised if he didn't try it because he's the sort of player who wants to be on the ball all the time and I think players like that deserve credit."
Getting back to his time at Real Madrid, a club that didn't realise the full potential of a player like Esteban Cambiasso, he added: "I can only be thankful given the way things went. It meant I took the best decision of my life, football-wise. I'm not the sort of guy who nurtures resentment. I believe in destiny: they didn't want me that much, Inter came in and wanted me immediately. Fortunately our paths met and now we're here."
What about pre-match rituals? That little jump of his before entering the pitch? "Actually it's three but let's not go into it." Ok, so let's talk about one of the hot topics of the moment instead: the possibility of another centre forward joining Inter as back-up for Milito. "I could say there's no such thing because there's no one else like Diego. We could say we need another striker but a real back-up for Milito is impossible." Impossible - like doing the Treble again? "Saying you want to do it is easy, lots of people have done that, actually doing it much less so."
As images of Cambiasso's goal in the 2-1 Champions League win over Chelsea (on 24 February 2010) are shown on the screen, the conversation moved onto how important scoring is to him: "It's the highlight of every match, something everyone dreams of. Who doesn't like scoring? It's one thing when you think about nothing else, but everyone loves to hit the back of the net – I enjoy it just as all my team-mates do. You don't see it on TV because the cameras stay on the goalscorer but I celebrate even when my team-mates score. Is there such a thing as a Cambiasso goal? Yes and it's not as good as that one [indicating his strike against Chelsea]. There probably is such a thing, maybe a rebound or something like that. But you guys can keep showing that goal against Chelsea as it's my best... [smiling]"
Finally, Cambiasso looked ahead to the Nerazzurri's next opponents at the Meazza, in their last game of 2012: "Do I think Genoa will come here to play for a draw? The approach other teams take never bothers me. If you can't win, it's your problem. We can't blame anyone else if we don't win. Inter must be good enough to win games. Last year we said we couldn't have another bad season and so far this term the results prove that this team – and when I say team I mean everyone, not just the 25 players – know exactly what they are doing. I think we're experiencing a rebirth."
The Argentine concluded with some festive wishes for the Nerazzurri fans: "Merry Christmas to all Interisti. I'm sure you'll get lots of presents... and I hope we can give you a few."